Who is Anna Delvey, the controversial subject of Netflix’s Inventing Anna?

Anna Delvey was the fake heiress who tricked New York’s elite, but who is she really?

Anna Delvey (Sorokin), who swindled New York's elite
(Image credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

Shonda Rhimes and her TV production company Shondaland are known for creating captivating dramas like Bridgerton, Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy, but her newest Netflix hit, Inventing Anna, gives some weight to the old adage that truth is often stranger than fiction.

Inventing Anna, starring Julia Garner, is based on the true story of Anna Delvey—although referring to anything related to Anna Delvey as a true story is something of an oxymoron.

Anna Delvey is a real story, but she was not a real person.


Who is Anna Delvey? 

Anna Delvey, real name Anna Sorokin, is a young woman who invented a fake socialite persona to scam her way to hundreds of thousands of dollars while living the high life in New York.

Born in Russia, Anna moved to Germany with her family as a teenager.

After finishing school, she spent time in London and Paris before debuting the persona of Anna Delvey in 2013.

As Anna Delvey, her father, she is reported to have claimed at the time, was a diplomat or an oil baron, and she was the heir to his fortune.

Anna’s father is actually a former trucker who runs a heating and cooling business, according to New York Magazine.

As Anna Delvey, she managed to find herself at the center of the city's best parties and high-end hotels, promising funds were impending and flashing generous amounts of cash to give her promises that funds were on their way more credence.

At the time of her arrest, it’s reported that Anna had managed to swindle an estimated $275,000 from hotels, friends, and financial institutions.

Anna accrued this amount by depositing bad cheques, using fake wire transfer receipts and skipping out on hotel bills.

She would also apply for loans and finance under the guise of wanting to fund a private arts club in Manhattan.

She was eventually arrested in 2017 with "not a cent to her name, as far as we can determine", prosecutor Catherine McCaw said at the time.

Did Anna Delvey go to jail? 

Anna was found guilty by a jury of four counts of grand larceny and four counts of theft of services.

Jurors acquitted her of two counts, including an allegation that she promised a friend an all-expenses paid trip to Morocco and then left her with the $62,000 bill. She was also found not guilty of one of the most serious charges in the indictment: faking records in an attempt to obtain a $22 million loan.

After being found guilty, she was given a prison sentence of four to 12 years—but she was released from Rikers after just two years served.

She is now in ICE custody.

What has Anna Sorokin said about Inventing Anna?

Anna, who was paid for the Netflix series, wrote about the show for Insider where she confirmed she wouldn’t be streaming.

"For a long while, I was hoping that by the time Inventing Anna came out, I would've moved on with my life. I imagined for the show to be a conclusion of sorts summing up and closing of a long chapter that had come to an end.

"Nearly four years in the making and hours of phone conversations and visits later, the show is based on my story and told from a journalist's perspective. And while I'm curious to see how they interpreted all the research and materials provided, I can't help but feel like an afterthought."

Inventing Anna is streaming on Netflix now.

Jack Slater

Jack Slater is not the Last Action Hero, but that's what comes up first when you Google him. Preferring a much more sedentary life, Jack gets his thrills by covering news, entertainment, celebrity, film and culture for woman&home, and other digital publications.


Having written for various print and online publications—ranging from national syndicates to niche magazines—Jack has written about nearly everything there is to write about, covering LGBTQ+ news, celebrity features, TV and film scoops, reviewing the latest theatre shows lighting up London’s West End and the most pressing of SEO based stories.